I never grew up traveling. Besides visiting our grandparents in Pampanga and in Ilocos Sur in the Philippines during the holidays, we weren’t the type of family that got in a car and explored. So maybe that’s why when I started working and earning my own money, all I wanted to do was the complete opposite.

Our family moved to the United States in 1993 and I whiled away the following years mostly studying under my parents’ roof. We kept our connections with the motherland and I was spending my college winter breaks in the Philippines. It was in 1995 when I could finally afford a ticket from Manila to Tokyo, Japan.